In response to bloggers who say I don’t talk about women’s issues very much I thought I’d capitulate and see if I can come up with something that they would like. Of course if I were to be honest, I’d say the real reason is because the inspiration I felt from the women’s march on inauguration day gave me so much strength. It was a great way to begin what are likely going to be 4 hard years.
An article that I thought was very well written was a response to post that made its rounds on inauguration day that was no in support of the women’s march. That response is titled “You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.”
Not surprisingly this article elicited a response and I’ve chosen to critique this response for two reasons. One this article was posted on a website called Future Female Leaders – America’s leading social movement for young conservative women. They have merchandise by the way, and all future female leaders are apparently thin, white, and pretty (and also apparently only two women), but I digress. I also wanted to critique this article because I found the rhetoric in the article to be full of the very things that tend to harm women. There are Christian undertones without actually talking about Christianity, there are weak and fallacious arguments that do nothing to demonstrate that there are strong intelligent women out there, and then there is also the beginning sprouts of the Republican establishment philosophy which I am sure will make the author quite popular with the patriarchy and those who wish to be complicit with it. So feel free to check it out for yourself, it’s called: “Yes, I Am Equal. I’m Sorry You Are Offended By Us Women Who Lack A Victim Mindset”.
From the very start we have one logical fallacy. The title contains a strawman argument. If you’re a feminist who believes that women should be equal to men in society, and apparently disagree with her, then you must have a victim mindset. Apparently that’s what feminists are.
- The first point here begins with a misquote and demonstrate that this future female leader is someone who is unable to research well and is willing to take things out of context to argue her points. Here is a well-researched article from politifact about Sanger’s quote.
“Those who think Sanger wanted black genocide cite the Negro Project. But even their strongest evidence, a passage from a letter she wrote advocating that organizers recruit black ministers for the project, does not come close to proving a genocidal plot.
Sanger wrote that “We don’t want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs.”
But her correspondence shows this sentence advocates for black doctors and ministers to play leadership roles in the Negro Project to avoid misunderstandings. Lynchings and Jim Crow laws gave blacks good reason to be wary of attempts to limit the number of children they bore. In Harlem, she hired a black doctor and social worker to quell those fears.”
This should be enough to not take this writer seriously, but since she might be a future female leader let’s move on.
- It’s true that we have laws set up that give women equal pay for equal work. But this isn’t at the heart of gender gap in pay. The wage gap is based not on a straight calculation of pay, but other factors that impact the careers options women have in society. Most jobs if they do give parental leave, it’s only for the women. What the pay gap is about is demonstrating that we still live in a society where women are the ones expected to shoulder a larger share of the parenting duties in favor of their career. This impacts the careers they choose, and the fact that they often choose flexibility over pay as a result of this as well. Women also face difficulties where their assertiveness is not valued, even though for men it would be. They are seen as a bitch or abrasive. Asking for raises is such a behavior and is often not looked kindly on in the workplace.
- Scientifically speaking, a fetus also isn’t a tenant in a woman’s body who can come and go if it pleases and compensates each month with rent. Also a fetus is NOT the very definition of a human being, which makes me wonder if this future leader has picked up the dictionary. Look, I know the debate about personhood may never be resolved. But the fact remains that the fetus takes from the mother in order to live. It’s not even a symbiotic relationship, it’s closer to parasitic. Now you can chide me for being unromantic about the most beautiful experience ever, and, believe me, when my son was born it was a beautiful thing. But I also saw my wife go through pregnancy and I am aware of how taxing it can be, how delicate her life becomes for a mother when something is trying to feed off of her in order to survive. My wife had very high blood pressure near the end, and was essentially on bed rest. In the end it is her body, and her right to decide what happens to it. A fetus is not a human being, and if you want to call it that, fine, but consider the woman’s humanity too. That seems to always get lost on so many pro-lifers.
- Not sure what her argument is here. There is an issue about the Tampon Tax. I could find no evidence of it being taxed more than other items, but there has been lots of research that women pay more for identical products than men. Whether this is sexism, or price gouging, or both, we can debate, but certainly points to the emphasis in society of female appearance.
- She thinks rape and sexual assault is because society lack of morals. And apparently the way to deal with a lack of morals is to carry a gun. She’s a regular Republican talking point there. Whether you carry mace or a gun isn’t the point, and it does nothing to solve the moral problem. People are getting raped. That’s the problem. Also why is it society’s lack of morals? Isn’t a rapist’s lack of morals? Which as it turns out, tend to be men.
- Yes both men and women are objectified. But I think we might be a bit confusion on the issue of proportion as well as the attitudes such things generate toward the different genders. I think there is pretty clear evidence that women are objectified more than men. An interesting study here demonstrates why that might be.
- While it’s true that men are also victims of domestic violence, the one place where this future female leader decided to post a link in support of her argument is irrelevant at demonstrating the women have little to fear, but seems aimed to try to demonstrate that women are more dangerous than men. Overall statistics that look at violence against women demonstrate that women are most often victims (in the U.S. it’s better than in many other countries in the world), and when you factor in things like stalking, and rape, the level of fear that women experience is far greater than what men go through.
- Talk about a reductionist argument here. This is about how girls are raised, and treated by others, not meeting them on the street.
- Legally guaranteed rights doesn’t mean that oppression goes away. I mean the same laws exist to protect African-Americans but racism still exists. Of course I suppose since she a future female conservative leader she probably disagrees. I mean we had a black president right?! The constitution has guaranteed equal rights for all citizens of India, so the caste system is gone as well! Millennia of oppression is always instantly wiped out with laws! Sorry for the sarcasm here, but I couldn’t help it.
- Well she doesn’t think that women are less than equal here in the U.S. So not much to say here. But it’s insulting. And apparently if you’re a feminist if you’re fighting for the right to legislate your own body you aren’t a real feminist.
- Feminism is about empowering women. I know many who have been empowered by the ideals of feminism. I am not sure where you are getting your definition. Perhaps you are getting it from the most extreme in the particular group. Every group has it. There are those that call themselves feminists who are not after equality but dominance. These are small amount. Just as there are small amount of Christians who are the Westboro Baptist Church. Thus your argument is a fallacy of composition. And it may be true that many women are afraid to label themselves feminist. Because labels carry with them complications. But maybe they are afraid of the label because of people like you who misunderstand feminism. I consider myself a feminist and am unafraid of that label, because I know what the movement is really about.
And this young lady’s response of course ignores many of the statistics in the first article, and so there is a lot of intellectual dishonesty here, whether purposeful or not. Look I’m not going to make assumptions about her back ground but if this is the attitude behind our future female leaders, I am going to say no thanks for now. The fact that you can even have a dream of being a future female leaders is because of this feminist movement that you are denigrating. Elisa is still young, just a college student. I hope in that time she will learn more, and most importantly get to know more women. Not just ones like her. Really understand what women go through and realize that there are many strong women who don’t consider themselves victims but would steadily oppose her views as I do. And for her to put down this march is really insulting to so many women. We have a president right now who is very much a misogynist. It’s not just about abortion. It’s about having a leader who normalized sexual assault, and the objectification of women in the way he speaks. And how that wasn’t enough to prevent over 60 million people to vote for him. Most of them men. Women have cause for concern, and the millions of women who marched for the purposes of saying their freedom, their autonomy, their equality, and their humanity should not be belittled. Especially from a future female leader, who hasn’t done her homework.